The goal of our project is to design and fabricate a robotic excavator to compete in NASA’s Robotics Mining Competition. (Formerly called NASA’s Lunabotics Mining Competition.)

NASA’s Fifth Annual NASA Robotic Mining Competition is for university-level students to design and build a mining robot that can traverse the simulated Martian chaotic terrain, excavate Martian regolith and deposit the regolith into a Collector Bin within 10 minutes. There is particular relevance to NASA’s recently announced mission to find an asteroid by 2016 and then bring it to Cis-Lunar space. The technology concepts developed by the university teams for this competition conveivably could be used to mine resources on Asteroids as well as Mars. NASA will directly benefit from the competition by encouraging the development of innovative excavation concepts from universities which may result in clever ideas and solutions which could be applied to an actual excavation device or payload. The unique physical properties of basaltic regolith and the reduced 1/3rd gravity make excavation a difficult technical challenge. Advances in Martian mining have the potential to significantly contribute to our nation’s space vision and NASA space exploration operations. (NASA) The competition is held annually at the end of May at Kennedy Space Center.

The competition consist of several categories:

  • On-site Mining in the Lunarena
  • Systems Engineering Paper
  • Outreach Project
  • Slide Presentation

Please visit NASA’s Robotics Mining Competition site for a complete description of the competition rules and guidelines.

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